The Neutrino Donut Collaboration – The Syndicate

The Syndicate is an affiliated group of consultants with extensive work in the area of technology commercialization, grant programs, and development services. The Neutrino Donut works with these organizations to provide extended services and support to our clients.

Members of The Syndicate have demonstrated industry experience in the commercialization of science technologies, have a deep understanding of product development, and have successfully developed a business in this space. Within this group, we have expertise with multiple technology areas, government agency grant programs, and academic processes and programs.

Earle Hager

Project Leader, The Syndicate

Earle Hager is the Managing Partner of The Neutrino Donut, a consultancy focused on the management and commercialization of science. He has managed strategic planning for company growth, customer management, and all aspects of business development processes. His specific target areas include biotech, healthcare, consumer goods, chemistry, IT, materials science, environmental, product innovation, strategic planning, and development of business development strategies.

As part of this consultancy, he has completed over 300 technology assessments and over 200 business development projects in innovative technologies over the last ten for domestic and international clients. Mr. Hager has also been part of many SBIR commercialization projects, writing multiple commercialization sections and consulting on many more. These projects include grant reviews for DoE, DoD, NIH, NSF, and other agencies as well as US and foreign universities, marketing and business development for multiple universities, SBIR grant development, and running multiple startups.

He is also a member of two grant review panels with NIH and DoD. His international experience includes projects in Hungary, Japan, India, Korea, Mexico, Portugal, Chile, Ukraine, Russia, Viet Nam, Qatar, and other countries. The Donut in the name of the company stands for the Direct Observation of the Neutrino Tau.


B.S., Economics, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania 

MBA, International Business, Baylor University

Tim Raines

Member, The Syndicate

Tim Raines specializes in Business Development, Commercialization, Marketing and Sales for complex science and technology ideas and innovations. He is experienced in domestic and international commercialization, with international work predominantly for foreign technologies seeking to commercialize within the US. He has worked with technologies in the batteries, engines, business and commercialization plans, IP protection, grant writing,  business development, sales, marketing, and branding with emphasis on physical sciences in energy, optics, software, healthcare, and defense. [EC1] 

He has a strong grasp of highly complex science and technology concepts with the ability to distill them into concise and executable marketing strategy.

He has worked with projects with the DOE, NIST, NIH, DOD and has provided services in grant support, follow-on bizdev, review panelist for DoD CDMRP (healthcare), and PI for DOE Phase I, Plasma Facing Components.  Globally, he serves science and tech innovators, institutions, and policy makers in developing economies, and has experience working with groups in India, Mexico, Hungary, Columbia, Ukraine, Qatar, Korea, and more.


Texas McCombs School of Business, MS, Science and Technology Commercialization

Texas A&M University, BS, Industrial Distribution

Shaun Sanders

Member, The Syndicate

Shaun Sanders is the Managing Partner of VentureCraft, Inc., and a startup veteran with more than 15 years of experience building and growing companies (early stage to Series A) across numerous markets. His consulting practice is largely industry-agnostic as he has provided commercialization and business guidance to clients across multiple sectors, including: energy, agriculture, SaaS, blockchain and fintech, biotech and Medtech, entertainment, and consumer goods. Sanders is a Professor of Law at USC Gould.

Between 2011 and 2013, Sanders worked with multiple Y Combinator portfolio companies, including Reddit, Hipmunk, inDinero, and AirBNB, while developing and managing cross-branded marketing campaigns with Google, Angry Birds, and SXSW. In 2014, Sanders managed the creation of the Angel Syndication Network, one of the largest angel investment syndication groups in the country that tied together resources and members from more than a dozen investment groups. Later, he joined in building out the startup-focused Applied Innovation at the University of California, Irvine. In 2016, Sanders joined HOTB, a software development company with an investment arm that handled more than $6 billion in program assistance on behalf of the U.S. Treasury and more than 14 state agencies. There, Sanders acted as Corporate Counsel, overseeing the company’s RFP program, negotiating terms between startups and investors, and developing strategic operational initiatives. In 2021, Sanders was brought on by the Australian government to assist the surrounding Asia Pacific countries hit hardest by COVID-19 and provide business and legal guidance to startups in Fiji, Samoa, Cambodia, and Myanmar.

At his core, Sanders is an educator with a talent for breaking down complicated ideas and abstract goals into articulable, scalable milestones. To date, he has assisted hundreds of entrepreneurs and startups in growing early-stage ideas into scalable, commercialized successes that have raised hundreds of millions of dollars in capital.


Juris Doctor, Chapman University Dales E. Fowler School of Law

B.S. Business Administration and Human Resource, California State University, Dominguez Hills

California State Bar, licensed but inactive.

Ben Bickerstaff

Member, The Syndicate

For the past decade, Ben has been working in the entrepreneurship and commercialization space to cultivate his passion for new technology development. His experience includes managing licensing & campus technology transfer at a Tier 1 research university, instructing as an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship, serving as a grant reviewer, and even being entrepreneur himself by founding two tech companies of his own.

Today, Ben runs Bennovative Consulting whose purpose is to help catalyze early stage technologies from concept to commercialization. Through this work, Ben has worked with many different types of technologies of varying complexity such as new software applications, nuclear fusion, nuclear storage, EVs & their batteries, many environmental materials, renewable energies, medical devices, drug discovery, and agricultural tech. In addition, this work led to collaborative interactions with many agencies and organizations such as the DOE, NIH, USDA, and the CDMRP program.

To date, Ben has reviewed 300+ technologies and counseled 80+ companies. Licensing strategies, business development, product roadmaps, and go-to-market strategies are included in his specialties.


M.S. Civil & Environmental Engineering The University of Alabama

MBA, Manderson Graduate School of Business, The University of Alabama

B.S. Civil Engineering, The University of Alabama

Chris Coburn

Member, The Syndicate

Chris Coburn specializes in technology commercialization utilizing federal grants. His current work includes DOE grant commercialization planning for several thermodynamic and reactor instrumentation products. His services are customer-centric and fit any high-tech commercialization or product development needs. They include customer identification, market research, business plan development, customer value proposition, supported by decades of experience that The Syndicate provides for any aspect of technology commercialization.

He brings to the table more than thirty years of study and engineering of internal combustion engines and expertise in highly complex assemblies and processes such as transmissions, hydraulics, test methods, high-speed video and instrumentation, and root cause failure analysis. He also has experience in explosive weapons technology development with previous DOD clearance, and bird strike testing on military and civilian aircraft.

Chris’s proven management and current-production skills include business case development, product development and launch, product line management, and financial planning and analysis. His team management skills and methods include team creation, mentoring, empowerment, engagement, development, goal tracking and cross-functional team building.


University of Wisconsin-Madison, MEPP, Master of Engineering in Professional Practice

Old Dominion University, Bachelor’s, Mechanical Engineering

Alfred State College – SUNY College of Technology

Dr. Emilie Clemmens

Member, The Syndicate

Dr. Emilie Clemmens specialties include grant writing, peer review, biomedical sciences and engineering. She has been working for 25 years in biomedical sciences and engineering, 5+ years in peer review management, and one year as grant writer. She has worked with many commercialization plans, including 13 grants in the first year of business, and managed 40-50 peer review panels  as a Scientific Review Officer (grant review management) with CDRMP at DoD. She also serves as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Kentucky.

As a grant writer and reviewer, her focus is providing high level services based on her extensive expertise in peer review, grants management, and strong background in the sciences.


PhD, Bioengineering, University of Washington

BS, Chemical Engineering, University of Kentucky

Michael Zarrabian

Member, The Syndicate

Michael Zarrabian is with Concept IP | LLP, The Intellectual Property Law Firm for Innovators. He is a registered patent attorney and hi-tech engineer. He focuses on intellectual property law for hi-tech, manufacturing and business sectors. He works closely with clients on patents, trademarks, copyrights, and counseling for all IP matters.

He works with start-ups to emerging and mid-size companies in manufacturing and business sectors for consumer electronics, apps, software, hardware, cloud, e-commerce, electrical, mechanical, medical, optics, apparel, appliances, etc.  He also worked with companies in the tech sector in software, AI, hardware, electronics, manufacturing, emerging companies, start-ups, Internet, e-commerce, and the like.


Bachelor of Science in Electrical/Computer Engineering and Computer Science (minor in Mechanical and Electromechanical Systems) from the University of California, Los Angeles, magna cum laude.

Master of Science, Computer Engineering, University of Southern California

J.D., Loyola Law School

Member of California Bar

Member of United States Patent & Trademark Office Bar

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